Choosing a Beginner Fly Fishing Rod and Reel

 Choosing a beginner fly rod and reelFly fishing Rods

Fly rods are a key component to catching trout. You should not buy an extremely cheap fly fishing rod and expect to have great success right off the bat. Learning how to fly fish will be much easier if you start out with decent gear. If you are looking to save money on a piece of fly fishing equipment, save that money on the reel and use the money you saved to upgrade your rod. While you are out hunting for the perfect fly rod, you should keep these tips in mind.

The Best Fly Rod Size for Trout

The perfect trout rod size will vary, but we can certainly limit the choices down to a couple options leaving you with a very good idea of what type you need to buy. Most trout anglers will go with either a 4, 5 or 6 weight rod. Depending on the type of water you are fishing, you will likely want one of these sized rods. We will go over the benefits of all of these rod sizes and more to clear up any type of confusion you might have.

4 weight fly rods

If you are mainly fishing in small streams where your average cast will be under 30 feet, and your average trout will be fairly small, (under 12 inches) you might want to opt for a 4 weight rod. These small rods are a delight to fish with and they can usually handle anything a very small trout stream can dish out. Many areas in the Eastern US simply do not have very big trout, so if you are planning to spend all of your time fishing there—a 4 weight might be perfect. For most small Eastern brook trout rivers, a 4 weight is perfect.

5 weight fly rods

5 weight rods are the most common choice for trout fisherman nationwide. If you will possibly hook into a fairly large fish in your area, this will be a better choice than a 4 weight rod. 5 weight rods will give you a bit more versatility, allowing you to cast farther, haul in larger fish and give you more control in windy fishing conditions. This versatility is what makes this size of fly rod preferred by most fly fisherman who seek trout.

6 weight rods

6 weight fly rods are the ultimate in versatility, but they might not be perfect for learning with. When learning how to fly fish, you will find out that as you pull your rod backwards to make a cast, it is critical that you learn when to end your back cast and begin to come forward to land your fly on the water. The disadvantage that most 6 weights have for new anglers is that they are stiff. You will not feel your rod bending on your cast as much as you would with a 4 or 5 weight fly fishing rod. This is not ideal, because without being able to feel when your rod is totally loaded up behind you, you won’t know exactly when to begin your forward cast.

There are also many benefits to owning a 6 weight rod that you should be aware of. First off, you will be able to cast farther, cut through the wind much more easily than you would with a smaller more soft action 4 or 5 weight fly fishing rod. Another factor is that these heavy rods will be able to cast large flies much more effortlessly than a smaller sized rod. If you will mainly be fishing in areas where you will have a good chance of hooking some very large fish, combined with fast water, a 6 weight might be for you. When you are fishing in many of the Western states, you will also encounter many days where there is heavy winds on the water. Fishing in Wyoming is just going to be much more windy on average than it is in North Carolina. Keeping this in mind, a 6 weight will have enough power to cut through the wind and therefore allow you further casting distances in heavy wind conditions.

7 weight fly rods

Most beginner fly fisherman for trout will not need a rod this large. If you are planning to cast some very heavy streamer patterns or even use your rod for bass or steelhead, then you might be in need of a 7 weight rod. Other than that, a new fly fisherman should stick with one of the other 3 options above.

Fly Fishing Reels

Fly reels are a much easier decision than buying a rod. For trout fishing, the reel is not as important as the rod is. This is not the case for most types of fly fishing, but for trout; you won’t need to spend a ton of money on a reel. Unlike when you are using a spinning or baitcast reel, you mostly won’t be reeling in your fish when you begin fly fishing—you’ll be stripping in line with your hand. When you start to move on to catching really large fish, an expensive reel with a good drag system is important, at this point it really isn’t.

Most fly reels are categorized by 4/5, 5/6 or 6/7 weight sizes. This means that a 5/6 for instance will be suitable for most 5 and 6 weight rods. Choose a decent reel that you like and go with it. You should spend about 50-60$ on a good reel. These will by no means be the best there is, but since you are learning, you just don’t need to spend a lot of money on one; save that money to buy a nicer rod. Like I mentioned, the rod is more important than the reel.

One more small decision is choosing a large arbor vs small arbor reel. A large arbor will offer you faster retrieve when you are reeling in. A small arbor reel will probably cost less money. At this point you should buy whichever suits your needs, but a large arbor or mid arbor reel will be the best choice in the long run.

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